Wilyabrup Valley Vignerons – Margaret River a step closer to sub-regions?

Cullen vineyards, Wilyabrup: rich in ironstone gravel, the perfect growing medium for Cabernet

Cullen vineyards, Wilyabrup: rich in ironstone gravel, the perfect growing medium for Cabernet

Referring to Margaret River’s three “unofficial” sub-regions, Langton’s Andrew Caillard MW described Wilyabrup’s powerful reds as having “Pauillac-like stature and richness” when he spoke at London Wine Fair four years ago (click here for my report). He also noted that several producers outside this sub-region blend in Wilyabrup fruit for extra flavour and richness.

So I was intrigued to hear that Moss Wood, Cullen Wines, Woodlands and Fraser Gallop Estate have formed a group known as the Wilyabrup Valley Vignerons to host an annual tasting of Wilyabrup wines with a view to developing a greater understanding of the sub-region’s terroir. You can read more about it here.

It’s not the first time that Margaret River has put its Cabernet-friendly soil, climate and topography under the microscope. In 1999 Vanya Cullen and Moss Wood’s Keith Mugford approached the region’s “founding father,” Dr John Gladstones, with the idea of identifying sub-regions. A region-wide tasting of Cabernet/Cabernet-dominated wines took place in October that year. You can see a map of the six sub-regions which Gladstones proposed here.  In 2008, Vasse Felix launched its annual sub-regional Cabernet tasting.

Nor is Margaret River alone. It’s exciting seeing similar moves afoot in the Barossa, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Mornington Pensinula and the Yarra Valley regions among others and, best of all, the growing number of increasingly terroir translucent sub-regional and single vineyard wines!

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